College Decision Day 2024

  • College Decision Day is usually May 1st, but a delayed Free Application for Federal Student Aid has delayed many financial aid letters.
  • As a result, some colleges and universities are pushing back their Decision Days until May 15th or June 1st.
  • If a student isn’t sure when they need to have their decision in by, reach out to the college as soon as possible. Many schools will be flexible due to the unique circumstances, too.

Every year on May 1, high school students around the country participate in College “Decision Day.” However, in 2024, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid’s (FAFSA) late release has thrown it (and students and parents) for a loop. You might just be looking at a different Decision Day this year! Many colleges and universities in the United States have pushed decision deadlines back until May 15th or June 1st.

We cover what you need to know below.

What is Decision Day?

College Decision Day is the day in which students need to make their final choice about the college they will attend. If you received an acceptance letter to a school, you need to notify the school by this date in order to declare your intention to attend. Most colleges will also require a deposit to secure your spot at the school.

Most years, Decision Day is May 1st.

Why is Decision Day 2024 Different?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) usually becomes available on October 1st of each year. However, in 2023 for the 2024 – 2025 award year, the FAFSA went under an overhaul to a more simplified version. There were also changes in financial aid eligibility requirements and the financial aid formula.

As a result, the release of the FAFSA in 2023 was delayed until December 30th. It underwent a soft release and many students had trouble accessing and submitting the form as it was only available sporadically. It only became available 24/7 on January 8, but students and family members are still experiencing problems with the form and portal. Schools, states, and scholarship programs, as a result, had to push back their FAFSA due dates.

Colleges and universities in the United States, as well as state grant programs, often use FAFSA data when determining financial aid for their students. Financial aid award letters are often sent with acceptance letters. However, due to the delayed release of the financial aid application, schools did not receive the data they needed until mid-March, delaying the financial aid offer letters. It’s expected that financial aid offer letters should be sent out in April, but some may not arrive until May.

That gives very little time for students to get their offer letters, compare the letters, and make their decision. For schools that aren’t sending out financial aid offer letters until May, this would mean students have to make their decision before they know how much aid they’re receiving.

Acknowledging that financial aid offers are usually important to determining which college a student wants to attend, many colleges have pushed back their Decision Days.

When is College Decision Day in 2024?

Many colleges and universities across the United States have already pushed back their Decision Day to May 15th or June 1st of 2024 (a handful have actually given students until August 1st). Some schools have said they will be flexible with decisions, too, even if they haven’t publicly announced a new Decision Day.

However, there are still some schools that still have the May 1st deadline. If your college has a May 1st deadline, be sure to keep on top of the latest news to see if they change that date. If they don’t and you have a concern about your financial aid, be sure to reach out as soon as possible. It is very likely they will take your circumstances into consideration and be flexible.

Here are some examples of colleges that have changed their Decision Days:

  • May 15th
    • Northern Arizona University
    • Mount Saint Mary’s University
    • University of San Diego
    • DePaul University
  • June 1st
    • University of Saint Francis
    • Illinois State University
    • Colorado State University
    • CUNY System

Never assume your college has changed its Decision Day. Some schools have changed their decision deadlines, but have stipulations behind them.

If you’re confused about college Decision Day 2024, you’re definitely not alone. If you have any questions about the deadline at your schools, always be sure to reach out as soon as possible to get clarification. For some students, there may be conflicting decision deadlines. Letting your school know your situation may give you some leeway and time to get your ducks in a row.

What’s Next

Once you’ve made that final choice, don’t forget these important next steps:

  1. Send in your deposit.
  2. Sign up for orientation.
  3. Finish your high school year off strong.
  4. Make sure you are set with your finances (scholarships, grants, student loans).
  5. Create your packing list.
  6. Celebrate your achievements!

Congrats on making your college decision.

If your financial aid package comes through and it isn’t enough to pay for college, especially after you’ve already committed to a school, private student loans can help to bridge the gap. Use our handy Student Loan Finder to help identify the best loans and rates for your financial needs and education.

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